Archive for the ‘News’ Category

C of E investment arm wins international awards

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Gavin Drake/ACNS on December, 06 2016

Photo: Pixabay

The Church Commissioners – the statutory investment body responsible for historic assets of the Church of England – has won three major prizes at the Investment & Pensions Europe (IPE) Awards for its ethical and responsible investment work.

The awards – for Climate Related Risk Management; Environment, Social and Governance; and Real Estate – come on top of the two awards the Commissioners won in April at the Portfolio Institutional Awards. But it did not take the top award of Best European Pension Fund, for which it was shortlisted.

“We are thrilled with these awards,” the Commissioners’ head of responsible investment, Edward Mason, said. “They reflect our commitment to responsible investment, good governance and acting on climate change. There is still much work to be done, and of course in the long term the prize that really matters is meeting the two degree target agreed in Paris last year.

The Church Commissioners launched a comprehensive climate policy last year ahead of the COP21 climate change conference in Paris. That was one of the things recognised by the judges, along with its “pivotal focus” on shareholder resolutions and engagement; and ensuring the reduction of the portfolio’s carbon footprint through investment and divestment strategy. This lead to what the C of E said was “a near perfect score of 19.75 points out of a possible 20 for Climate Related Risk Management.”

The Commissioners hit the headlines this year after it garnered substantial support for a shareholder motion on climate change at ExxonMobil’s AGM.

The IPE Awards are presented at Europe’s largest annual gathering of pension funds and service providers. The Church Commissioners manage a £7 billion investment fund for the Church of England. Last year it distributed funds of £218.5 million, making it the third largest charitable giver in the UK; and the 14th largest internationally.

About the Author

Gavin Drake/ACNS (Anglican Communion News Service)


Anglican Journal News, December 06, 2016

Council of the North, Indigenous Ministries mull partnership on suicide prevention

Posted on: December 5th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Tali Folkins on November, 30 2016

Michael Hawkins, Bishop of Saskatchewan and chair of the Council of the North, says members of the council want to see how their dioceses can contribute to suicide prevention. Photo: Art Babych

The Council of the North and the national office’s department of Indigenous Ministries are looking to collaborate more closely on suicide prevention, say sources from both offices.The Rev. Ginny Doctor, Indigenous ministries coordinator, says she spoke recently with Michael Hawkins, bishop of Saskatchewan and Council of the North chair, about working together more on the crisis.

Their conversation came about as a result of discussions at the latest fall meeting of the council, Oct. 18-20, in Toronto. A desire to contact Doctor was expressed after council members spent a morning discussion their own experiences of suicide and suicide prevention, Hawkins says.

The Anglican Church of Canada’s suicide prevention program was originally handled by the Council of the North, but the council asked Indigenous ministries to take it over because it lacked the staff necessary to deal with it. Now council members want to renew the council’s connection with the program, he says, and see what resources or expertise their dioceses might be able to contribute.

In many places in the north, and especially among Indigenous people, suicide is “a constant reality in people’s hearts and lives, homes and families and communities,” Hawkins says. “Our commitment to face it, to walk with people and to work on the crisis, has got to be long term.”

Such work could also involve collaboration with groups outside the Anglican Church of Canada, he says.

About a year and a half ago, the diocese of Saskatchewan put on an applied suicide intervention skills training workshop in collaboration with the Prince Albert Grand Council. The diocese sponsored the event and the grand council supplied the trainers, Hawkins says.

“Part of that was just to build bridges between mental health workers and the clergy, so they can trust each other, know what each other’s role is, and how they can refer people to each other,” he says.

When it comes to preventing suicide, there’s a role for both secular and sacred forms of help, he says—for spiritual care as well as forms of mental health promotion ranging from medication to recreational therapy.

“Whatever you can say about suicide, people are hurting at the deepest level of their identity and being, and for us we call that the soul or the spirit. We need healing in our whole person, but it’s got to include that part,” he says. “I think people need hockey rinks. I also think they need to find their unshaken identity in God—I don’t think those two things are in competition.”

The Rev. Ginny Doctor, the Anglican Church of Canada’s Indigenous ministries coordinator, is planning a consultation to develop a national plan for Indigenous suicide prevention. Photo: Art Babych

Indigenous ministries has published a resource, announced late last year, for suicide prevention, Doctor says. One of her top priorities now is holding a consultation session to develop a plan of action, she says. She is now working now on a list of key participants.

Doctor, too, sees a vital role for the church in suicide prevention. She locates a key cause of the higher suicide rates among Indigenous people in the historical trauma that has wounded them through generations.

“In essence, our people are grieving and they are in pain,” she says in a letter recently emailed to Hawkins and other leaders in the Anglican Church of Canada.

But many young Indigenous people are also suffering from a lack of knowledge about the spirit, she says.

“Our young people are struggling to know who they are as Indigenous people,” she says. “Many have not been spiritually formed and this is critical to their identity and self-esteem. There is a great need to increase the faith and recognition of the Creator in our communities.”

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, suicide and self-inflicted injuries are the leading cause of death for First Nations youth and adults up to the age of 44.

About the Author

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.


Anglican Journal News, December 02, 2016

Bishops say church has failed children, women and Indigenous peoples

Posted on: November 25th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Gavin Drake/ACNS on November 25, 2016

Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops gather for vespers at the Church of San Gregorio in Rome before being sent out in pairs for joint mission by Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Photo: ACO

A group of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops have acknowledged both churches’ failure to protect children, women and indigenous peoples.

In a statement issued by the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (Iarccum) today (Friday) following the group’s historic meeting in Canterbury and Rome last month, they call on the church to repent and seek justice for victims. They say that, “at the foot of the Cross we, as bishops, have reflected on an ‘ecumenism of humiliation’. We lament our failures and share the brokenness of our church communities.”

They continue: “We failed to protect vulnerable people: children from sexual abuse, women from violence, and indigenous peoples from exploitation.

“In this communion of shame, we confess that our own feeble witness to God’s call to life in community has contributed to the isolation of individuals and families, and even to that secularisation which removes God from the public space. We, as bishops, are called to lead the church in repentance and to seek justice for the abused.”

The bishops have called their statement “an appeal from the Iarccum bishops to the bishops and the people of the Anglican and Catholic communities.”

They say: “we have discovered that as Christ draws us closer to the full visible unity which is his will, we are led to the foot of the Cross, where we stand together with the One who bears the pain of broken humanity. This too is a deep experience of communion which some have described as a communion of poverty, of persecution, even of blood.

“During these days together, we have shared testimonies from both communities, struggling in dire circumstances in our respective regions. These included environmental degradation; mass migration; war and persecution resulting in refugees, displaced populations, and post-conflict trauma; societal decisions eroding the dignity of human life from beginning until natural end; human trafficking and modern slavery. This ‘ecumenism of the Cross’ unites us as we bear together the plight of our people who face the challenges of our troubled world.

“An essential dimension of our ‘communion of the Cross’ is standing with the poor, and reaching out together to reveal Christ’s presence among those at the margins of our world. South Sudan, Pakistan and other places of conflict were very much in our prayers.

“In the Middle East – the place where the Word became flesh – the very life and witness of Christian communities is threatened. The changes in our world since the inauguration of Iarccum in 2001 call for deeper commitment to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, where the meaning of the Cross is a concrete reality for millions, in what is now an age of terror and destruction.”

During their meeting, 19 pairs of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops were “sent out” for joint mission by Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury from the very place from where Pope Gregory sent Saint Augustine to be the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

“As Anglicans and Roman Catholics have done in their local contexts throughout the world, in our sharing with one other in conversation and in prayer, we found ourselves living the real but incomplete communion that exists between our churches”, the bishops said. “The unity we seek is a unity which, to a significant degree, we were already experiencing. . .

“Gathering for Vespers at the Church of San Gregorio in Rome, from which Pope Gregory sent Augustine of Canterbury to England at the end of the 6th century, Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin commissioned us to be artisans of healing and reconciliation in the power of the Gospel, and to go forth as pairs of pilgrims, returning to our home nations and regions to encourage common prayer, mission and witness. . .

“Mindful that Jesus sent his disciples forth in pairs, we as pairs of bishops . . . go forth now motivated by our commission to continue our pilgrimage to unity and mission, developing plans of action, spreading the vision we have shared among our episcopal counterparts, our clergy, and our lay faithful.

“We go forward together summoned to extend the mercy and peace of God to a world in need.”

  • Click here for the full text of the Iarccum bishops’ statement (pdf)



About the Author

Gavin Drake/Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS)
Anglican Journal News, November 25, 2016

National consultation on Indigenous self-determination planned for 2017

Posted on: November 24th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By André Forget on November 24, 2016

Archbishop Fred Hiltz (centre) says the time has come for a “renewed covenant” between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Anglicans. Photo: André Forget

In 2017, the Anglican Church of Canada will hold a national consultation to discuss the current status of relations between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous people within the Anglican Church of Canada.

“I’ve been thinking for some time that it is time for us as the whole church to take a pause, take a breath, and come together and see where we are on this long journey [toward self-determination],” Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Canadian Anglican church, told Council of General Synod (CoGS) November 19. “My hope is that we might, all together as the whole church, move toward some kind of a renewed covenant for the whole church.”

Hiltz said the consultation would be co-convened by himself and National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald. While a date has not yet been settled, Hiltz said the event might take place in conjunction with National Aboriginal Day on June 21.

The consultation would bring together 50-60 Indigenous and non-Indigenous representatives from across the Canadian Anglican church to share their experiences with reconciliation and their efforts to establish self-determining Indigenous ministries.

He noted this would include elders, youth, Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) representatives, diocesan archdeacons for Indigenous ministry and people involved in urban Indigenous ministry.

Hiltz said the consultation would be a time for “stories, songs, prayers, a sacred fire…talking circles and healing circles.” But it would also be an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Anglicans from across Canada to discern together what has been successful and what needs more work.

“What are the good news stories? And what have we learned as we’ve moved forward in certain locales in the spirit of self-determination? What is it that we still lament? What still remains a significant challenge?” said Hiltz. “What might some next significant big steps be, as we move forward together in the spirit of building a truly Indigenous church?”

In the 23 years since Indigenous Anglicans first signalled their desire to become a self-determining church within the Anglican Church of Canada in the 1994 covenant, there have been significant changes in the way Indigenous ministry in the Canadian Anglican church is structured, such as the creation of the position of National Indigenous Bishop, Hiltz noted.

However, while self-determination is often discussed at the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP), at CoGS and in the House of Bishops, Hiltz said the issue must be engaged “by the whole church.”

Hiltz said he and MacDonald hoped to have a planning team in place by mid-December.

Money was not set aside to cover the costs of a gathering such as this in the national church’s 2017 budget, but Hiltz said he was “optimistic” funds would come in to cover it. According to Hiltz, the diocese of Ottawa has already pledged $20,000 to “help get this thing launched.”

About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.


Anglican Journal News, November 24, 2016

ACIP lays out plan for self-determination

Posted on: November 21st, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By André Forget on November, 19 2016

National Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald (centre) gives Council of General Synod members some background information on Indigenous self-determination. Photo: André Forget

Mississauga, Ont.
On November 18, Indigenous ministries and the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) laid out concrete steps for how they will continue to pursue self-determination for Indigenous Anglicans within the national church over the coming three years.

The plan is to start small, with three or four regions that want to pursue self-determination, Archdeacon Sid Black, ACIP co-chair, told the  fall meeting of Council of General Synod (CoGS), the Anglican Church of Canada’s governing body between General Synods.

A focus group, co-chaired by former Indigenous ministries co-ordinator Donna Bomberry and Archdeacon Larry Beardy, will oversee the details, and the initial goal will be to select leadership in a way that is in line with Indigenous practice.

Canon Grace Delaney, an Indigenous CoGS member from the ecclesiastical province of Ontario, said leaders in Indigenous communities are selected by the community itself. It is also typical for the community to decide what kind of leadership training is needed.

The initial focus on ministry in these pilot regions will be to “the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind,” according to teachings from Luke 14:12-14, and will cover both Indigenous communities and ministry to Indigenous people living in urban areas.

Advice on incorporation will come from former General Synod prolocutor Archdeacon Harry Huskins.

When General Synod met in July, Indigenous ministries and ACIP had released a plan for a “confederacy of Indigenous spiritual ministry” and outlined some of its potential features.  But while this plan offered a big-picture view of how a fully Indigenous Anglican church will be distinct, it did not explain exactly how its features would be implemented.

At CoGS, Black said that National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald will need extra support in order to fulfill his role. The plan outlined to CoGS involves hiring an archdeacon to help with administration (alternatively, an assistant bishop) to help with “pastoral and program work.”

Indigenous Anglicans have been calling for a greater degree of self-determination for decades, but recent years have seen significant mobilization on the issue.

In 2015, the eighth National Anglican Sacred Circle expressed its support for the idea of a fifth, fully Indigenous, ecclesiastical province (the Anglican Church of Canada currently has four ecclesiastical provinces: Canada, Rupert’s Land, Ontario, and British Columbia and Yukon).

However, at the CoGS meeting in March, MacDonald said the emphasis was not on structure, but on the mission itself—the most immediate goal being the establishment of self-determined ways of doing ministry.

ACIP and Indigenous ministries reiterated why this is at the fall meeting.

According to Delaney, of the approximately 150 Indigenous clergy serving in the Anglican Church of Canada, most are unpaid.

“Many are elders and were called to serve the community they live in—clearly, there needs to be more effort in the church leadership development,” she said.

She added that Indigenous clergy tend to have fewer resources, and for many, the prospect of leaving their communities to study at a seminary is simply untenable.

The non-Indigenous church tends to assume that a priest should go through intensive education at a post-secondary institution, but Indigenous approaches to leadership see the most important education a leader can receive as happening within the context they will serve in, Delaney said.

For this reason, an Indigenous leadership structure would include discernment from the local community as well as conversation with the national Indigenous bishop in choosing and raising leaders.

Several CoGS members gave their reactions to the presentation.

Quebec Bishop Bruce Myers,  whose diocese includes the isolated Naskapi nation of Kawawachikamach, wanted to know whether this leadership model could be used there.

Myers also said he has also found a similar need for more flexible, community-based forms of leadership in the remote, non-Indigenous communities within his region.

In response, Canon Virginia “Ginny” Doctor, Indigenous ministries co-ordinator,  said Indigenous ministries has already explored options, such as a “moveable seminary” that would bring teachers to communities for intensive education, or doing the reverse and bringing Indigenous leaders-in-training to a local centre for intensive, short-term education. She suggested either of these models might work in Quebec.

Bishop Larry Robertson, of the diocese of Yukon, who noted that he had been living north of the 60th parallel for 40 years, said, “What I heard today, all I can say is: my heart leaps with joy.”

Prior to the ACIP presentation, CoGS had been given another insight into the unique ministry challenges of Indigenous leadership in a briefing by the Rev. Vincent Solomon, a CoGS member from the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land who is the Indigenous ministry developer for the diocese of Rupert’s Land.

Solomon serves as priest for St. Philip, Scanterbury, an Ojibwa community north of Winnipeg, and St. Peter, Dynevor, a Métis community near Selkirk. But he is also working to set up a local Indigenous Anglican worshipping community in Winnipeg, which he believes there is a need for.

One of the challenges in setting up such a community, Solomon explained, is in creating a liturgy that reflects authentically Indigenous Anglican approaches to worship and theology.

“We certainly don’t want to apologize for being Anglican, but we also don’t want to apologize for being Indigenous either,” he said. “We need to bring the two together somehow, in order for our services to begin to be reflective of who we are.”

Solomon, whose work also involves building bridges between  Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Winnipeg, said that following decades of colonialism and dispossession, it is time “to start building up Indigenous people so we can take our place in this world and within this body, so we are no longer the limb that seems to be useless, or thought of as useless, within the body of Christ.”

Indeed, in Solomon’s opinion, Indigenous people have insights into the Christian faith that those from a non-Indigenous background might lack.

“I really do believe that Indigenous values are far more Christian and biblical than our Canadian values. We need to celebrate that,” he said.

“We want to take our place within this body, and we want to bless the socks off the rest of the church.”


About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.


Anglican Journal News, November 20, 2016

Anglican, Lutheran leaders call for National Housing Day prayers

Posted on: November 21st, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

By Tali Folkins on November 18, 2016

In Canada, more than 235,000 people spend some time homeless each year, and as many as 35,000 are homeless on any given night, church leaders say.    Photo: Menieurd/Shutterstock

With the approach of National Housing Day 2016 on November 22, leaders of the Anglican Church in Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) are asking for prayers for the homeless and under-housed.

In a letter released November 16, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald and ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson together ask for members of the two churches “to pray for safe, affordable and adequate housing for all on November 22,” in the spirit of the 2013 Joint Assembly declaration.

At their joint assembly in 2013, the two churches passed a declaration calling on their members to address the challenges of homelessness and affordable housing over the long term. The declaration committed the two churches to learning more about the underlying causes of housing problems, supporting housing programs, looking at new approaches and calling for more federal funding for housing and a collaborative national strategy.

Housing, the church leaders say in their letter, is a human right. “We live in a country of abundance, yet not all benefit,” the letter reads. The homeless, or those with housing that is precarious or unaffordable, are among the most vulnerable today, the bishops say.

In Canada, more than 235,000 people spend some time homeless each year, and as many as 35,000 are homeless on any given night, the letter states. Housing in many Indigenous communities, it continues, is extremely poor, with mould, insufficient heating and overcrowding a problem for many families. Indigenous people are also more likely to face discrimination in the housing market, the church leaders say.

The prayer commended by the leaders asks that the “God of compassion and hope” open our hearts “to the needs of our neighbours who are homeless, under housed, seeking refuge or denied the right to water.” It asks that God “open our minds to the issues that contribute” to these problems, that he open our eyes to housing-related ministry and other approaches; that he open our hands to act compassionately and justly; and that he “bless us with time, patience, persistence and commitment over the long term, so that all may have safe, affordable and adequate housing.”

November 22 has been recognized as National Housing Day in Canada since 2000.

About the Author

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.


Anglican Journal News, November 18, 2016

Archbishop of Canterbury in online Advent course

Posted on: November 21st, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

Posted on: November 18, 2016

The Archbishop Canterbury Justin Welby in a video for the Getting more out of the Bible with Justin Welby online Advent course.
Photo Credit: ChurchNext

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] Christians are being invited to get more out of the Bible with Justin Welby through a new free online course which is being made available during Advent. The Advent course is being made available by ChurchNext, a company which “creates online Christian learning experiences that shape disciples” and is supported by the Presiding Bishop of the US-based Episcopal Church and the Bible in the Life of the Church project.

The online course, Getting more out of the Bible with Justin Welby, will be available from Advent Sunday (27 November) to Christmas Eve and will help “everyone to draw closer to God through the Bible,” ChurchNext said.

“We are living in divisive and complex times where honing abilities to live peaceful, wholehearted lives is increasingly difficult,” they said in a statement. “The Bible regularly proves to be the inspiration behind lives of kindness, authenticity, and reconciliation.”

Archbishop Justin Welby commented: “A key message of the Bible is transformation. And now, more than ever, our lives, communities, and society will all benefit from the re-discovery of the Bible as a source of transformation.”

ChurchNext say that the online course will take an average learner some 45 minutes to complete. It contains a series of video lectures, quizzes, and discussions. It can be completed by individuals and ChurchNext are making resources available for congregational use.

  • Click here to register for the Getting more out of the Bible with Justin Welby course and for more information.


Anglican Communion News Service,  Daily update from the ACNS on Friday 18 November 2016

Online Advent calendar created by the world

Posted on: November 21st, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

Posted on: November 17, 2016

[ACNS] Christians across the world are being invited to celebrate the season of Advent through an interactive, multi-lingual online calendar. The website goes live on Advent Sunday (27 November) in nine languages including, for the first time, Arabic. It allows people around the globe to create together an advent calendar with images shared by their mobile phones.

Advent, which runs from Sunday 27 November to Christmas Eve, is the season when Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is traditionally marked with the putting up of an Advent calendar to count down the days. The calendars have daily windows which are opened to reveal images, small chocolates or other gifts.

AdventWord is a new twist on this old theme: it invites people to sign up to receive a daily meditation. Recipients are invited to submit a photograph in response on their social media account with the hashtag #AdventWord. The photographs are pulled together in real time to create a living Advent calendar.

The initiative is jointly run by the US-based Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE), a religious order of men in Cambridge, Massachusetts; with the Lady Doak College, a women’s college in south India; and the Anglican Communion Office.

AdventWord is a wonderfully innovative way to engage people in prayer all over the world,” the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said. “I am so encouraged to see such a creative use of social media to bring the community of Christ together.

“The Bible calls on us to bring prayers and petitions to God. I urge Anglicans everywhere to sign up and get involved in what will be an extraordinary, powerful and global wave of prayer.”

Brother Jim Woodrum, one of the SSJE monks, commented: “When I was a kid I loved opening the windows in the Advent calendar. Each window contained a message that pointed to the great mystery of Christmas. And now, to my delight, you can actually log on to and pull back the windows for your own Advent calendar.

“And what’s more, you can add your own photos and experience the joy of praying with others from around the globe throughout the season of Advent.”

The AdventWord initiative was first launched in 2013. Since then it has been improved so that the daily reflection is now sent at 5am in the morning in each recipient’s home time zone. Last year it became multi-lingual with versions available in English, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Portuguese, Spanish, Tamil and American Sign Language. This year, thanks to St George’s Anglican Cathedral in Jerusalem, it will also be available in Arabic.


Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Thursday 17 November 2016

New academy facilitates theological studies – south Asian style

Posted on: November 18th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments

Posted on: November 18, 2016

Students from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Pakistan at the Asian Theological Academy’s Asian-wide Refresher Course for Clergy and Laity
Photo Credit: USPG

[ACNS] Clergy and lay leaders from Anglican churches in south Asia are taking part in a pioneering programme designed to increase culturally sensitive theological training. Modelled on the Ecumenical Institute at the Château de Bossey near Geneva, in Switzerland, the Asian Theological Academy (ATA) was created to help Asian Christians think together about theological issues in a local context. “This is a chance to explore different ways of thinking,” Dr Rienzie Perera, the founder and director of the ATA said. “It is about interaction. Yes, we live in Asia, but there is [currently] no cross-fertilisation between us.”

Much published theology, and many international theological conferences and discussions, are prepared with a western understanding. The ATA, now in its third year, is helping to create fresh theological thinking by south Asian Christians. Dr Perera explained that many Christians throughout Asia – in places like Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka – live in a minority alongside Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims, an experience that few theologians in the west have experienced.

Now, 18 young church leaders from across south Asia have gathered in Sri Lanka for a three-week Asian-wide Refresher Course for Clergy and Laity – the second such event organised by the ATA. The course is to help men and women to explore new thinking in theology “in a language and idiom that is meaningful for the Asian context,” Dr Perera said.

“We are aware that, for an average presbyter, obtaining a bachelor’s degree from the seminary is the end of his or her theological studies or learning process. . . As a result, many presbyters are not equipped to respond to the contextual issues that churches and people are confronted with in their respective regions. This contributes to theological stagnation or infertility, which denies the birth of new theologies that Asian churches can be proud of.”

He said that “after five years of theological college, a student can feel brain dead. This is a chance to explore different ways of thinking. . . It is about tickling the mind.

“God is a God of surprises [and] he is present where we have not realised. So we expose the students to realities. These are often not new (to them) but when they have been seeing the realities for so long, you don’t see them anymore.”

The students learn incarnational theology – studying not only in class rooms but also during visits to fishing communities or slums as they discuss issues such as class, caste, mixed marriage “and other thing that take the shalom away,” Dr Perera said.

“We want people to go back home thinking of God in a new way.”

The ATA “has been designed to provide participants with the tools to analyse their political and cultural situation, then develop theologies and forms of worship and spirituality that are relevant and part of the local context – rather than accepting western-focused theology without question,” the Anglican mission agency USPG, which provides funding for the ATA, said.

“This is the first time I have attended any sort of theological training, and I’m learning so many things,” Razia William, from the Church of Pakistan’s Diocese of Sialkot, told USPG. “It is amazing to hear about the different kinds of problems that people face in different countries. My own focus in life at the moment is on accounting, but the course is helping me to understand this in both a local and global context.”

Another participant in the three week refresher course, Stalin Pallab Sakar, from the Church of Bangladesh, is looking to develop his work with street-connected children and children with disabilities. “I was not getting any answers, so I felt a disappointed,” he told USPG. “These children need many things – shelter, food, education. But during this course I have come to learn about how my peers in other countries are dealing with this issues, and it is so insightful and inspiring.

“Now I am getting answers.”

And the Revd Mark Edwards, from the Church of Ceylon, commented that “the course is challenging the way we think and helping us to look at the Bible and at Jesus in a different way. Indeed, different people in their own situations see Jesus in different ways.

“As servants building God’s kingdom on earth, we should be able to balance these different viewpoints rather looking at Jesus and the scriptures from only one point of view. But the main thing we should not forget is that Jesus always stood with the people and stood for people in need. That is what drew people to Jesus.”

USPG’s director for global relations, Rachel Parry, said that the agency was “thrilled” to be partnering what she described as “such a dynamic and significant movement, sharing in the richness of the cultures and peoples of South Asia.”

She added: “This is a living example of the evolving nature of mission – a demonstration of how local and global understanding of our faith is being redefined in every generation.”


Anglican Communion News Service,  Daily update from the ACNS  on Friday 18 November 2016

‘Forces at play’ threaten reconciliation in Canada

Posted on: November 17th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By Art Babych on November 17, 2016

(L to R): Christ Church Cathedral dean, Shane Parker, Senator Murray Sinclair and Ottawa Bishop John  Chapman, diocese of Ottawa, pose for a photo at the Cathedral Arts dinner lecture Nov. 14. Photo: Art Babych

Senator Murray Sinclair, who was chair of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), praised the Anglican Church of Canada for it efforts to further reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians, but says more needs to be done.

There are “forces at play” in the world that are pushing back against such efforts, Sinclair told guests at the Cathedral Arts Dinner Lecture Series, held at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa November 14. He referred to the recent election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, the June 23 vote by Britain to leave the European Union and to “other places that have elected similar kinds of leaders.”

Those forces see reconciliation as a threat to their sense of self, their sense of the right to control and “the right to predetermine the lives of others and to refuse the right of others determining their lives for them,” he said.

“You will not be surprised to hear that it could happen here, too,” Sinclair added. “Reconciliation is not a given. It requires dedication from people like you.”

Sinclair, the first Aboriginal judge in Manitoba, was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in March and sits as an independent.

He told the gathering most of his colleagues in the Senate are “looking for a good party” next year during the 150th anniversary of confederation.

“They think we’re going to have 12 months of constant celebration,” he noted.

But Sinclair said he told them, “At the end of next year, you’re going to wonder what the hell’s going on in this country.” Indigenous people are not going to join the party, said the senator, citing reasons given to the TRC by young people. They include: Indigenous children not receiving an adequate education, high suicide rates, the apprehension of children by the child welfare system that exceeds the number of children taken away and placed in residential schools, and high incarceration rates for crimes that need not result in jail time.

“They will tell you that if things don’t change, there may be actions taken by the young people in future generations that this country is not going to like,” said Sinclair. Pipelines, public infrastructure and other property may be in jeopardy, he said. “That’s what we heard from young people during the course of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and it’s in our report. That’s why we say things need to change.”

Sinclair applauded the work of churches in promoting reconciliation, saying most of the efforts he has seen since the TRC report was issued came from Protestant churches and some Roman Catholic entities. “But the Pope remains silent,” he said. But Sinclair said he remains optimistic. “Sources tell me we might be hearing something, relatively soon,” he said. In Bolivia in July 2015, Pope Francis apologized for sins and “offences” committed by the Catholic church against Indigenous peoples during the colonial-era conquest of the Americas. “I think that gesture forebodes what we might be hearing in this country,” Sinclair said.

The senator also applauded the Anglican Church of Canada for taking a leading role among churches in repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery, calling it a “magnificent gesture.” General Synod passed a resolution in Halifax in 2010 repudiating the doctrine, which deals with non-Indigenous government claims to legitimacy over Indigenous lands and territories.

He acknowledged the church’s “effort and energy” in educating Anglican congregations about the work the church did “to contribute to this problem and accepting responsibility for that.” The “most significant” apology by the Anglican church, he said, in an apparent reference to the church’s formal apology delivered in 1993 by then-primate Michael Peers, “was heartfelt, it was generous, it was kind, it was true and it was meaningful for those who heard it.”

Sinclair’s talk was preceded by a traditional Algonquin buffet prepared and served by Wawatay Catering of Maniwaki, Que.

Cathedral Arts celebrates and promotes the visual and performing arts by offering concerts, dramatic productions, educational dinner lectures and exhibits.

About the Author

Art Babych

Art is the former editor of Crosstalk, the newspaper of the Anglican diocese of Ottawa.
Anglican Journal News, November 17, 2016